Thursday, August 25, 2011

Talking Shit

There has been a lot of dealing with shit in my life. Literally. Not figuratively.

My employment history is littered with experience cleaning restrooms. First it was working in the busiest day use state parks in Vermont & Michigan. The saying was guests left their brains at the gate when they entered. For the record, Vermont was cleaner. Take that Holland tourists!
Next came caring for animals, first as a zoo intern, then as a ranger at a drive through safari park. In the 2 years I spent cleaning up after animals I saw almost every type of excrement a land mammal could produce. I would consider tigers and hippopotamuses generally cleaner in their restroom habits than the general  human population. There are days I would really prefer to be knee deep in rhino shit again.
Having had over 20 roommates and driven cross country a couple times I was pretty familiar with the whole spectrum of conditions in which one can find a restroom in before I took my current job, and then I started cleaning schools. Oh my goodness. You people can not let your kids get away with this at home. And if you do, we are not friends.

What has me reminiscing on all the restrooms in my life is last night's foray into a building of educated professionals. These particular professionals were in the education business, the people who determine curricula and teaching methods and all that stuff. So you would think they would be capable of keeping their restrooms in better conditions than those of the public library. Not so. They were one instance of bodily fluid graffiti away from a homeless hangout. These are the people who are shaping your children eight hours a day. So cleaning tonight I thought why not go over the rules for proper restroom etiquette somewhere no one will see it? Maybe they can use this, and create a section in the health curriculum that features some of these tips. Heaven knows there are some schools in southwest Michigan that need some help. (E-mail me & I'll name names and you can avoid sending your kids to them.)

  1. You should never spit in a restroom. Never. You are indoors. We, as a society, do not spit indoors. This applies to snot rockets also. If you feel the need to expel fluid from your facial orifices, use a tissue and dispose of it in the proper receptacle.
  2. If you drop it pick it up. This applies to toilet paper, hairpins, trousers, paper towels. You don't scatter office paper throughout your neighbors' cubicles or leave a trail of candy wrappers down the street, nor should you discard the extra toilet paper on the floor in the stall. If you drop it grab a extra bit of paper, pick it up and dispose of it properly. Every second your cleaning person spends picking up toilet paper is a second they don't spend sanitizing the toilet seat. 
  3. If you need to instigate the use of a new roll of toilet paper, put the wrapper in the trash. Some way, some how put it in the trash. Not on the floor. Same for the cardboard tubes. And the little scraps of paper that start the roll. Rest the tube & wrapper on the dispenser while you pull of your pants, then take them out of the stall & dump them. No one will look at you funny. They actually be very impressed by your consideration for the people following you.
  4. Wash your hands. This should be obvious, but you will not believe the disparity between hand towel usage between men's rooms and women's rooms. There are reminders on almost every stall door, stuck to every mirror, and posted beside exits. Yet I watch you walk out without washing your hands all the time. 
  5. Don't turn on the tap full blast when you wash your hands. The water pressure is not what kills the germs, soap is. Oh, right. Use soap. Turn on the water with one hand while using the other to get soap. Push once to dispense, wait until the soap is finished flowing out, then move your hands to the sink, proceed to lather, rinse, turn off the water. Take a moment to reflect as your hands drip dry before reaching for the hand towel. Don't shake like a wet dog. Dry your hands, grab a extra towel & wipe the area around the basin & the tap. The person following you will thank you.
  6. Unless you are using the special stall because you have special needs, under no circumstance should you touch the stall wall, door, or divider between the urinals. You're not the first to touch it, nor will you be the last. Eww. I don't understand your need to brace yourself for the event, but if you do have that need, you should probably see a doctor. Along the same lines, it is not okay to wipe or spray anything on the walls. Please don't make me elaborate upon this. 
  7. Woman: Put the applicator back in the wrapper, then toss. Better yet, use O.B. The planet will thank you. Wrap IT in toilet paper, then toss. In the special box. Not on the floor. 
  8. Men: Stand closer & wait to finish before you start shaking. I've never been involved in potty training a male of the species, but I think this is something you were supposed to learn, like, before pre-school, alongside tying your shoes. You are so proud of your snow art but you can't control it in the restroom. WHY? Are you drunk &/or lazy at work? 
  9. Before you exit the stall look around. Have you contributed to the mess in any way that would not allow you to look the next person in the eye? Discretely grab some TP and take care of it. You're going to wash your hands so it is okay. 
These are just some simple starting points. They seem like no brainers but you know...

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